Hundreds of thousands of people have received a letter ‘Proposed Expansion of Heathrow Airport – Land Referencing: Request for Information’ and a form to fill in and return.
Many recipients have been puzzled and some have felt worried or harassed, particularly if chased up about it.
You do not have to fill in the form. Our advice is: do not, for time being at least, fill in and return the form. Here’s why.
Heathrow say they have a statutory duty to carry out this exercise. This may be correct. However, you are under no obligation to respond.
We have several major concerns:
Firstly, this exercise reinforces the impression that Heathrow Airport wants to give – that expansion is a ‘done deal’. It’s not, because the Development Consent Order (DCO) process could reject the entire scheme or insist on major changes on the grounds of noise, air pollution, climate change or surface access.
Secondly, it suggests that people will get compensation. In fact, only a tiny proportion of recipients of the letter (those very close to the airport) will be eligible. (This is obvious when one looks at the map of property compensation areas provided at the Heathrow consultation events.) Heathrow and the government don’t have the slightest intention of giving the vast majority of us any compensation. It is very misleading to hold out hope to hundreds of thousands of people they will get compensation, thereby encouraging them to acquiesce or even support Heathrow expansion.
Thirdly, this is a massive data mining exercise. Much of the data will be made public and all of it will be available to certain companies and agencies. Data could be used by Heathrow to refine and promote its massive public relations exercise.
If you do nonetheless decide to fill in the form, we suggest you ask your own questions of Heathrow. In particular, ask what sort of compensation you might be entitled to, eg cash payment or council tax rebate, and type of impacts that might be applicable, eg noise, air pollution, congestion, flood risk.